Open letter to the French government

Open letter to the French government and French embassies in Europe

A Call to the French presidency on its action to liberate Europe from sex slavery?

”What has the French presidency done during the second half of 2008 to challenge the demand for sexual slavery in Europe?”

This is the question every citizen of Europe should ask after looking at the official program for all ministerial and expert meetings that have been arranged during the French presidency.
We, 17 non-governmental organizations, NGO’s, across Europe from 14 Member States, cannot find any evidence of any ambition to place this modern form of slavery in the public agenda.

It is public knowledge that each year thousands and thousands of women and children are being trafficked into the European Union Member States for the purpose of sexual exploitation. International criminal syndicates are the organizers behind this cynical trafficking in women and children who are forced and lured into prostitution.
We can all read in the UN special report 2006 (E/CN.4/2006/62) that ”the responsibility of the sex trafficking market lies with prostitute-users, traffickers and the economic, social, legal, political, institutional and cultural conditions which oppress women and children throughout out the world”. Sex slavery is a crime against human rights.
We know that most of Europe’s men do not buy sex, yet the minority who do are responsible for much suffering – so why has there not been more forceful action against sex trafficking and prostitution during the French presidency?
We know that most of the victims of trafficking and prostitution are women and children (both boys and girls) who originally come from rural areas in Europe and countries outside the Union – so why, during the French Presidency has there not been more of a deliberate plan to save the lives and future of these women and children who are forced to be slaves in the international and criminal sex-industry?
In the official document for the three presidencies, French, Czech and Swedish, we can all see that,

”The fight against trafficking in human beings will remain a priority. On the basis of the Commission evaluation of the EU Plan of Action, the Presidencies will initiate the assessment and further development of policies in this area. This will include the consideration of concrete measures, such as encouragement of more involvement of Eurojust in the co-ordination of investigations and prosecutions in this area. A joint analysis of the situation and trends is vital for enabling an effective EU response. Priority will be given to the development of common EU standards to collect and analyse data on trafficking. The three Presidencies will take action in the context of the external dimension of EU Justice and Home Affairs with a view to elaborating an Action Oriented Paper in accordance with the EU Strategy in the field taking into account in particular countries of origin of trafficking in human beings.

We cannot see any concrete results in any documentation of any of the fine sounding words above.

The NGO’s that have signed this article and established the ARETUSA network come from many different national backgrounds and from a wide range of diverse faiths, but we all agree on a common policy, and that is, in order for the European Union to stop the demand for sexual services in an effective and successful way – we must all see the link between trafficking for sexual purposes and the national markets for prostitution or commercial sexual exploitation.
This trade exists because men buy sex. If men stop believing and acting as if it is their natural right to buy women and children as commodities for their own enjoyment, then, it would be possible to eradicate prostitution and sexual exploitation and women, girls and boys will no longer need to be traded on the sex-slave market.
It is hypocritical to talk about the trafficking of women and children without talking about prostitution at the same time. We cannot talk about human trafficking in isolation. We must put it in a context where the issue of prostitution is highlighted and countered. We cannot succeed in combating trafficking in human beings unless we strengthen our work against prostitution.

Once again we ask this important question. -”What has France done during its presidency to combat human trafficking and prostitution in a more efficient and effective manner?”

General Assembly of Aretusa in Budapest at the 11th of December 2008

Mariapaola Colombo Svevo, President Aretusa Org, Europa

Elena Garavaglia, Member of the board, Aretusa

Filippo Vanoncini, A.F.P. Patronate San Vincenzo, Italien

Nieves Rodriguez, Associazione Micaela, Italien

Lars Back, Baltic Fem, Sverige

Angela Deavall, CHASTE, Storbritannien

Violetta Zentai, Mona, Foundation for Women of Hungary

Christiana Weidel, The World of NGO´s, Österrike

Mata Kaloudaki,Research Centre of Women’s Affairs, Grekland

Lea Ackermann Solwodi, Tyskland

Jūratė Šeduikienė, Women’s Issues Information Centre, Litauen

Stefan Markov, Caritas Ruse, Bulgaria


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